Once again, the Grade II $500,000-added Indiana Derby will be the highlight of the 2012 Thoroughbred season at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. Now in its 18th running, the Indiana Derby has served as a stop for several of the top three-year-olds in the nation that are searching for a final prep en route to the Breeders’ Cup. Last year, Wilburn and jockey Julien Leparoux made a sweeping move in the final turn to win Hoosier Park’s featured event. The duo covered the one and one-sixteenth mile event in a time of 1:43.3 over the fast track that was upgraded from muddy earlier in the day.
The Indiana Derby is placed in its customary first Saturday in October slot, this year landing on October 6th. As in 2011, the race pushed purses for the entire day over $1 million mark, a bold statement for Indiana Thoroughbred racing. Joining the Indiana Derby will be the Grade II $200,000-added Indiana Oaks, the $100,000-added Michael G. Schaefer Memorial Mile and the $100,000-added Mari Hulman George Stakes. In addition to open events, several Indiana Stakes will be on the stellar afternoon racing card, including the $84,000 Hillsdale Stakes, the $84,000 The City of Anderson stakes, the $84,000 Hoosier Breeders Sophomore Stakes, the $84,000 Hoosier Breeders Sophomore Stakes Filly Division, the $84,000 Gus Grissom Stakes, and the $84,000 Richmond Stakes. Total purse money for the day will be in excess of $1 million.
The 2012 Thoroughbred stakes season gets underway Saturday, August 25th with the 16th running of the $84,000 Brickyard Stakes and the 18th running of the $84,000 Merrillville Stakes.
The Don K Memorial Starter Handicap Series is also slated for the 2011 season. Five legs of the series are scheduled with the distance increasing as the series progresses throughout the meet. The fifth leg will round out the series on Wednesday, October 24 running at a distance of one and one-eighth mile. The $200,000 Too Much Coffee Stakes and the $200,000 Frances Slocum Stakes will be contested on the final racing program of the season.